Barbara Morgenstern – BM
A lovely album this; BM is widescreen, at times lush with subtle textures and carefully weighted sonics; determined too - but still full of that dreamy key-board pop that she has been noted for previously. There are a number of very personal piano-led reflections on this album, such as Hustefuchs and Fur Lüise which act as great mood pieces; and then there’s a great duet with the legendary Robert Wyatt on his song, Camouflage. It’s dreamy, gentle and (as with a lot of Barbara Morgenstern’s work see also Jakarta on this LP), refreshingly unexpected.
The opening three tracks are absolutely tremendous pieces of work. Driving My Car is a slow burner, medium paced, slightly psychedelic, a stream of consciousness song, slipping lyrically between English and German lyrics. And the bit, about two minutes in, when the guitars slowly creep into the song are very reminiscent of something Alexander Hacke would do. Come into Berlin follows hot on its heels, a tremendous paean to the city itself, and a song that continues (however understatedly) the driving theme. It really does feel like a song to play in a car whilst driving through Spandau or Prenslauerberg. (And what’s with the German English lyrics? Is she trying to tell us something?) Reich & Berühmt is another deceptively smooth track, ending on a quiet, but assertive (and very uplifting) beat. Deine Geschichte is a beautiful romantic ballad, given extra kick by some assertive string parts, grumbling guitar and a decisive, soaring change of key.
I was thinking, whilst listening to this opening quartet, that these tracks really reminded me of the smooth, deceptively calm emotional pressure the Blue Nile used to exert in records like A Walk Across the Rooftops. Whatever, it’s incredibly seductive music and not something to be overlooked.
Words: Richard Foster